The 1,300-bed Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, based in Kerala, India, and Nepal’s Association of Non-Government Hospitals (ANGHOS), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for improving patient care and healthcare delivery systems at ANGHOS member institutes. Under the agreement, the Indian hospital will be setting up state-of-the-art telemedicine service for specialty and sub-specialty consultation across all seven ANGHOS-affiliated healthcare institutions in Nepal.
Another important aspect of the wide-ranging collaboration is skill enhancement of healthcare professionals through medical education and training programs. Efficient use of Information Technology will be encouraged by the introduction of Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) to NGO hospitals in Nepal. There will also be e-learning programs in Continuing Medical Education (CME) and paper presentations, as well as exchange programs for medical students, doctors and other healthcare professionals.
The agreement was signed by Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kerala, India, and Dr. Bharat Pradhan, Chairperson, ANGHOS, Nepal, who highlighted the importance of the tie-up for the welfare of the Nepalese people. Leading nephrologist Dr. Rishi Kumar Kafle and Shyam Dhaubhadel, Executive Member, ANGHOS, were also present on the occasion.
Said Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, “This collaboration will allow delivery of state-of-the-art, but affordable medical care to patients from Nepal in institutions affiliated with ANGHOS. The expertise of our medical specialists in India will instantly become available to them through telemedicine. We have already begun the treatment of two referrals from ANGHOS hospitals at our institution in Kochi. Furthermore, six nurses from the member institutions have completed their training in advanced infection-control practices. Training programs in advanced surgery will be initiated soon. With telemedicine, our engagement with patients will further deepen. We expect to review at least 20 to 25 patients every month from Nepal, especially difficult cases.”
Said Dr. Bharat Pradhan, chairperson of ANGHOS, “Although Nepal has made significant progress in terms of healthcare services in the past one and a half decades, more needs to be done. Not-for-profit NGO hospitals like ours have emerged to fill the gap between the private hospitals that can today provide services that are comparable to those in well-developed countries and the government hospitals where services are available, but not sufficient to address the actual needs of the country. We focus on providing healthcare to underprivileged and marginalized communities. This collaboration with Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences will benefit the overall development of our hospitals.”
An important part of the MoU is the exchange of medical students, doctors, nurses, scientists and other healthcare professionals between the two countries. Dr. Prem Nair added, “We intend to focus on specialized short-term, hands-on training for doctors and other healthcare professionals from Nepal. The training areas would involve specialties like head and neck, upper airway cancers, thyroid, heart diseases and arthroscopy surgery, as well as radiology and pathology. We are starting training programs for doctors from Nepal in laparoscopy and advanced surgical skills. Additionally, we will be developing an E-learning package for Nepal to enhance the training of medical students in the country.”
The joint research projects between Indian and Nepalese healthcare professionals will revolve around neglected tropical diseases and dengue, chikungunya, malaria and filaria. Community-based health activities will be another focus area.
Said Brahmachari Nijamrita Chaitanya, the North India In-Charge of Mata Amritanandamayi Math’s social welfare projects, “There is a very cherished relationship between Mata Amritanandamayi Math and the people of Nepal, bound by mutual love and respect. Following the Nepal earthquake of 2015, the Math provided food, blankets, and materials for constructing temporary shelters and two tons of medicines and surgical supplies. We worked with the Nepalese Army to distribute these to the needy. Through this MoU, our major thrust will be to ensure the overall well-being of the people of Nepal through community health based activities. We will be extending Mata Amritanandamayi Math’s Village Health Program to several locations in Nepal.”